Friday, 30 November 2012

Same old, same old

Quick trip out over lunchtime to Stockers Lake. Really cold overnight and there were still frost pockets and frozen puddles as i walked round. Still no sign of any smew or goosanders yet this year. Also, more worryingly, no real signs of winter thrushes. I hear that the berry crop hasn't been very good this year. Certainly no big flocks of fieldfare or redwings around.
The lakes held the usual birds - at least 2 male goldeneye and probably 6-8 females. A few wigeon were pottering about amongst them as well which is always nice. Otherwise large numbers of tufted ducks, pochard and shovelers lurking around the margins.
Hoped to see the redpolls again, but nothing moving near the hide. Did catch up with a flock of about a dozen siskins when i got home though - in the alders at the bottom of the garden. Didn't hang around for long! Crows were making a fuss as well in the wood - clearly upset as something. There's defintely tawny owls in there somewhere. Must have a concerted effort to find thme one day!!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Waxwings and redpolls

As the surge south of waxwings seems to have slowed down, a pretty reliable group in Aylesbury were a good bet. So, a quick trip out first thing was in order. 50 minutes later i was in the middle of an industrial estate complete with greasy spoon cafe and a Comet distribution depot! Why do waaxwings always choose such naff places to hang out? Anyway, 2 photographers were already onto the birds - 18 of them in the rop of a tree. Light wasn't great though so they weren't very pleased. I stayed about 30 minutes and the birds showed pretty well, coming down to feed on berries. One particular pair were very sweet - passing a berry between them 4 times - were they a true pair?

After going back home and catching up on emails etc i was tempted just to have a walk round the aquadrome to see if the smew or goosanders ahad arrived.  No sign of them on the lakes but by the second hide there were a group of birds in the top of a tree. I thought siskins first of all, but a quick check with bins id'ed them as lesser redpoll - flock of around 8- 10 birds. Geoff Lapworth then appeared from the hide saying they were showing really well feeding near the ground so i spent an hour or so photographing them. They were a bit flighty and as ever hid behind plants but it's great to get flocks of them so close to home. Hopefully they hang around and perhaps attract in some mealy's later on!